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Your Nose Can Make You Gain Weight According To Science

Weight gain, Smell

Your nose is vital in your appreciation and selection of food, but its role in weight management has been poorly understood. A new recent study done on mice, sheds some light on scent perception and its link to obesity, and shows that a loss of smell can reduce fat mass and may help in reversing insulin resistance in humans.


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First You Eat With Your Nose?

If you’ve ever had a cold, you know how nasal congestion decreases your appetite, making foods you normally enjoy seem rather unappetizing. Then, when the cold disappears and you can smell again, your appetite returns.

Apparently, the less food you can smell, the less weight you’ll gain, according to new research. A study exploring the link between olfactory receptor neurons and weight gain found that having a good sense of smell can actually make you put on weight.

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The research, from the University of California, Berkeley and published in the Journal Cell, observed that mice gained twice their normal weight compared to genetically-altered rodents who could not smell. What is more, the mice with enhanced scent receptors gained even more weight than those with a normal sense of smell.

Remarkably, the mere scent of food without eating it activated the appetite control center of the brain -- the hypothalamus gland in mice through signals from the nose. These signals were believed to have transmitted to the centers of the cortex, signally prime activity of neurons in the hypothalamus that altered metabolism by conditions of anticipated food intake.

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Bad Sense of Smell Equals Weight Loss In Mice

What was most interesting was the non-smelling rats lost 16% of their body weight, and so the study suggests not being able to smell food could have a surprising effect on metabolism and has the potential to help those struggling with weight loss remain thin even when eating fatty foods.

The hope is that by manipulating olfactory inputs it may actually alter how the brain perceives energy balance, and how the brain regulates energy balance and metabolism in humans.